It was a case of ‘mission accomplished’ for SNIA Europe, the Storage Networking Industry Association, when Pixl8 helped increase the average number of page views on its new website by 350%.
The new bright, colourful marketing-led web design by Pixl8 enables SNIA members, partners and subscribers to find what they are looking for immediately and encourages them to stay on the site for longer.
Improved navigation and a fresh, regular supply of member related content have seen average page views rise from 2,000 per month in 2010 to 10,000 per month in February this year - just six weeks after the site went live.
SNIA Europe’s membership consists of storage networking product and solutions manufacturers and their channel partners who share a common interest in promoting standards-based enterprise storage solutions within the IT community in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The companies represented on the Board of Directors include leading companies in the enterprise storage space, such as: Brocade, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, NetApp and Oracle.
SNIA Europe delivers vendor-neutral information and education to the market, such as tutorials and white papers to vendors and user communities. The Association also provides a central voice of authority and knowledge on storage standards for industry commentators (such as press and analysts) and potential users.
SNIA Europe Executive Director, Mary McCue describes the Association’s old website as ‘dark, static and tired’.
“It was built on an outdated platform not compatible with today’s content management systems,” says Mary. “People were coming onto the site but staying less than a minute on average. It was clear that our members and our external audiences could not find what they were looking for and gave up.”
As a membership association charging fees its SNIA Europe’s responsibility to deliver a compelling value proposition to its members.
It was clear that a website that members want to use and interact with, where they can promote their own events, news and publications, would both enhance the visibility and credibility of members as well as that of SNIA Europe.
The search was on for a website with a completely new ‘look and feel’ and vastly improved functionality and flexibility.
When it came to choosing an appropriate web design company, the quality of Pixl8’s presentation to SNIA Europe stood out. “They came up with plenty of colourful designs and illustrations and we could see immediately that they were not just another web design company focused only on technology,” says Mary. “They have a real flare for design along with their technical expertise and we were impressed by their marketing savvy.”
The project required a database to be built onto Pixl8’s WebConnect content management system, enabling SNIA to manage both member and subscriber details on one centralised system.
The new website also allows members to upload their own news, publications and events providing a regular supply of fresh content, promoting the community feel of the site and improving search engine optimisation.
Advanced filtering of these news and events articles by topic, country and date, has also helped improve site functionality, making it easier for users to find particular content.
“We were delighted when soon after implementation the statistics for page views per month had gone up from 2,000 to 10,000,” says Mary. “This ‘visibility’ value proposition for members was a key driver for the re-development, which we addressed by adding a random scroll box on the home page displaying members’ logos as well as a prominent Member Directory tab, which gives each corporate member its own portal on the website. Shortly after launch, the Member Directory was getting as many hits each month as the home page, which is a great result.”
The new website has benefits for SNIA staff too. Instead of spending hours managing and maintaining the website and updating one item in lots of different places, staff can now spend time on generating content and helping members get the most from their positioning on the site.
“We’re really reaping the rewards of the improved technology,” adds Mary. “Adding RSS feeds to dynamic pages makes it much easier for the IT community to keep up to date both with SNIA programs and information as well as with important news from our members, which I’m certain has helped increase traffic. As we continue to develop our outreach strategies, including social media efforts, we know we now have the technical capability to take full advantage of these channels.”
The reaction of members to the new SNIA Europe site is very positive with the average time spent logged on now at five and a half minutes. It was under a minute before the development work.
Other key performance metrics, comparing activity on the website last year with this year, show the number of unique visitors up by 20% and time spent on the site up by 109%.
“The Board’s reaction is that it’s a ‘job well done’, a huge improvement and a good investment,” concludes Mary. “The ongoing challenge, of course, is to drive people to the site and increase unique visitor numbers.
“The new website gives SNIA Europe and its industry members a huge boost in visibility. It helps us project a professional and up-to-date image and, most importantly, makes our extremely valuable educational content on storage infrastructure solutions and technology standards far more accessible to the IT professionals who will benefit from it.”